I'm pretty much posting this fic as I write. Please excuse any mistakes you notice. Actually, even better, point them out so I may fix!

Chapter 12

Surprisingly, both Don and Mike were on the couch when Leo left the dojo. The TVs against the far wall were all on, but with the volume dropped to a level lower than usual. Neither turtle seemed to be watching; Mike was sprawled on the loveseat, while Don sat at the far end of the larger couch, leaning on one elbow as he stared off in to space.

Leo approached the couch from behind, leaned forward in to it.

"Where's April?"

"Went home." Mike's voice was uncomfortably monotone. "Said we could call her if we needed."

"Was she upset?"

That earned Leo a snort. "I know this is the jackass thing to say, but when isn't she lately?"

Don didn't seem to be listening to the current topic of conversation. "I can't keep drugging him like this, guys. We don't know what kind of long-term effects that could have."

"Yeah, well, the short term effects of his piss fits aren't that desirable either."

Don's arm dropped limply in muted frustration as he turned his head to look at his younger brother. "Really?"

"Look. All I'm saying is he hurts himself and others when he's like that. Short of tying him up, that stuff is the closest we've gotten to fixing this."

"It's not a fix, Mikey. It's a bandaid. One that just keeps getting ripped off." Don squirmed in his seat. "I injected him five times last week. That's a big jump from before. At this rate, we're going to end up doing more damage."

Leo stared blankly at the televisions. "What do you suggest?"

Don threw his arms up in a defeated shrug. "Was hoping you two would have some input."

The three were silent for several moments.

"We need a new course of action," Leo murmured.

"Agreed." Don's voice barely rose above a whisper.

Heaving a sigh, Mike stood and walked out of the living area.

It took Raph a long time to come out of his stupor, and even when he realized he could wake up he relinquished that idea in favor of a few more moments of oblivion.

As fuzzy as his senses were, there was no mistaking the presence of his brother sitting in the chair beside his bed. He didn't know who it was. Only that, judging by the feel of the atmosphere, it wasn't Mikey.

He tried to open his mouth, to tell him to leave him alone, but the only sound his wrecked throat could muster was a dry croak. There was no verbal answer to his attempt, only an air of patient expectancy.

Ah. Leo, then.

"Thought you'd sleep a while longer." Leo's voice was smooth, devoid of any frustrations he must be feeling. Raph took a moment to gauge his own emotions.

"What the hell did you give me?"

"Something to calm you down." Simple, around-the-bush answer. Was this the type of conversation they were about to have?

"Raph," Leo hesitated. Then, true to form, he pushed through it, "there's something I'd like to discuss with you."

Raphael didn't answer. There was no point in arguing. In this state he doubted he could walk away if he wanted to.

"Do you… do you know why we drugged you?"

The red-banded turtle opened his mouth to answer, only to have a ripple of disgust and horror pass through him. He nodded mutely.

Leo watched his brother's jaw clench, his fingers twitch. He knew the signs. Careful, they warned.

"What do you guys give me?"

Leo sighed. "Different things. Usually whatever April can get ahold of for us. The one that works the best has a slightly different effect in us then it does in humans."

"It knocks me the fuck out."

Leo didn't answer. He really didn't know where he planned on going with this. Just that he was tired of dealing with a multitude of things… part of him had wished Raph would sleep a while longer so that he could collect his thoughts. Try to maybe approach things differently, since previous efforts have failed so miserably.

Raph turned his head away, facing the wall. The old mattress he was sprawled across really wasn't that comfortable, though honestly not much of a demotion from the hammock across the room. Crinkling his brow, the red-banded turtle swallowed hard, considering. Maybe…

"I keep having these dreams."

Leo's silence was the only indication Raph got of his surprise. "Bad ones?"

"Mn. I think… I keep losing track. I know it's real. But I keep hoping that some of it is just a dream."

Something burned in Leo's chest, causing acid to crawl up his throat. He flexed his hands nervously. "Yeah."

"I don't know. I just…" His voice cracked. "Leo, I'm going fucking crazy."

"No." There was a certainty in his brother's voice which left no room for argument. "You're grieving."

"I'm going to end up hurting you." There was a manic edge to the panic lacing Raph's voice. "I'm going to fly off the handle and-"

"You haven't yet."

"Because you drugged me."

"Because we didn't know what else to do." Leo's voice wavered at the end. He swallowed convulsively against the lump there. Raph heard it, turned to face his brother. His eyes were wet, full of pain… Leo breathed deep against the stab of grief in his gut, knowing he probably looked similar.

Raph's throat worked as he fought with something. He lost control long enough for one tear to trace a salty path down his cheek. "I'm sorry."

Leo's breath heaved against his will. He leaned forward in his chair, drew a hand across his face. He sucked in air, willing himself numb.

His younger brother was crumpling. He curled in on himself, face twisted in agony. Leo suddenly didn't want to be here, watching this. Didn't want to-

"I killed him," Raph's voice warped, a high-pitched whine escaping. He drew breath and released it in a series of loud, wracking sobs.

The blue-banded turtle wasn't sure when exactly Don arrived, or if he had been there all along. As soon as Donatello swept in, Leo began to back away. Seeming to notice, the brainiac turtle turned and made eye contact just before Leo turned and fled.

He didn't make it far, leaving the door to Splinter's room open as he stumbled through blindly, fighting the water obscuring his vision. He backed up until his shell hit the wall, the knuckles of his left hand between his teeth. He tasted blood.

He was shaking, legs weak. He would have fallen if his brother hadn't grabbed his shoulders and guided to the floor. Would have drowned alone if Mike hadn't pulled him in to a vice-like embrace, feeling his heart thunder against his plastron as he surrendered to the ache that had been plaguing him for months.

Sappy. Super angsty. Just how I like it.

I keep losing sight of this story. Keep forgetting my timeline, if that even exists any more! Let's see… everything is still really new, here. Splinter's been dead for a little under six months. I guess. It started as a few months at the beginning of the story. Egh.

So until I have the time for a revamp (lol) here's what I'm really tring to hold on to: Leo's suppressing. Raph is actively grieving and being generally self-destructive. Don is just trying to hold everything and everyone together, which includes himself. Mike is bitter and totally conflicted. April is annoyi- I mean she's upset too I guess. Casey is ?

So… we good?

Also, while skimming through I noticed that apparently the guys are either 16 or 20 in this fic. Throughout the chapters, I've mentioned both. #oops. That's what happens when the original notes for a fic are looooooong gone!

This fic has basically become the lovechild of my angsty teenage years and current dry/sarcastic/ "really? This is what adulthood is?" years. Which is a totally creepy and kindof a little incest…ful. Which leads me to wonder: which version of me is the "man" in this relationship?

Another question: why do I make mutated ninja turtles swear like sailors?